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Author Topic: NASA and AMC's pet project.  (Read 6271 times)

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Offline shanebo

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NASA and AMC's pet project.
« on: June 24, 2011, 12:21:13 AM »
Anyone ever heard of a Sterling engine. I had heard the name but never had any idea of what i was. Its an old idea concieved in 1816 by Robert stirling to rival the steam engine. Its a kind of extenal combustion engine...wikipedia can explain it better than I can. Any way,  turns out NASA was doing some experimentation with this engine in the late 70's. In theory this engine can turn unheard of gas mileage numbers. Evidently NASA and AMC teamed up briefly and one of these experimental engines found its way under the hood of a 79' Spirit and later a D-150 Dodge.
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Offline thereverendbill

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2011, 12:25:10 AM »
awesome find, eggs to you ....... i wonder what tranny bolted up to it
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Offline shanebo

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2011, 12:40:57 AM »
Thanks Bill ;D Im really curious as to what kind of power it produced too. According to a Hemings blog the Dodge actually surfaced in a NASA cold storage area but no trace of the AMC has surfaced. heres the write ups http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2009/01/27/nasa-gets-spiritual-and-drops-stirling-engines-in-some-odd-vehicles/
http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/tag/vam-lerma/
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Offline shanebo

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2011, 01:08:00 AM »
Looking further into this subject...looks like the functional prototype was actually a VAM Lerma....the beloved concords Mexican counterpart....Im like obsessed with this thing!!
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Offline philotomy

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2011, 10:17:34 AM »
Interesting;looks like a turbo and a HUGE air cleaner,fitted onto a stock motor from what I can see.I'd like to hear one run,maybe this technology will be revisited soon
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Offline Mavericke

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2011, 04:46:24 PM »
Wow... that is beyond awesome. It defines the word. Wow.

A lot of prototypes got dismantled in those days. That spirit is probably scrap somewhere... that's too bad. Either that or it's in someone's private collection. Man o man... what I would do to have that Spirit. I'd probably kill for it, lol!
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Offline shanebo

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2011, 10:03:37 PM »
Id sell a kidney for it for sure...LOL
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Offline 83Eagle!

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2011, 10:51:10 PM »
That is awesome.  Great find.
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Offline amc78concord

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2011, 02:13:16 AM »
Interesting!

Just when you think you know it all about AMC, you learn something new... That is really neat
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Offline 85AmCfreak

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2011, 06:45:19 AM »
You deff got may attention LOL totally awesome find I have been researching this thing for half an hour.
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Offline Whuntmore

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2011, 11:58:09 AM »
I love when these tidbits come along...  thx for posting that.  Egg ya!

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2011, 09:33:26 PM »
Just saw a show on TV the other day about engines and they talked about the Sterling engine. Apparently they were prone to vibrations.

Offline shanebo

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2011, 11:38:43 PM »
If that Dodge is still around its possible the Spirit may be sitting in someones barn somewhere....It could happen.
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Offline rollguy

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2011, 12:02:16 AM »
Up to yesterday (after reading this thread), I had never heard of a Sterling engine.  Today at the Antique Steam and Gas Tractor Museum, I saw a Sterling (hot air) water pump display.  Is that a coincidence  or what?
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Offline shanebo

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2011, 12:08:34 AM »
Its evidently quite an old idea....Its amazing to me that NASA out of all things would have stuck money into a project like this.
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Offline El Matador

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2011, 07:30:41 PM »
That engine must have run pretty hot, judging by the extra ventilation in the front bumper.
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Offline AMCKen

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2011, 12:46:29 AM »
Article mentions 60kw engine - that's about 80hp.
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Offline shanebo

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2011, 12:50:57 AM »
As impressive as it looks 80hp wont be getting you anywhere fast! It would sure put a whole new twist on finding parts.
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Offline AMCKen

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2011, 01:43:44 PM »
Perhaps the torque was more useable. Article didn't mention an rpm figure. If it was 80hp @ 2000, that would convert to 210ftlbs at that rpm.
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Offline thereverendbill

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2011, 03:56:55 PM »
80hp is about the same as the GM iron duke.  Those engines will get you where ya wanna go, but they are pretty powerless off the line
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Offline IowaEagle

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2011, 05:17:00 PM »
First I heard of the AMC connection.  We need to know more.

So here is some info I found:  http://green.autoblog.com/2009/07/08/blast-from-the-past-nasas-stirling-powered-amc-spirit/

Over the last few months, Segway-inventor Dean Kamen has made headlines for installing a Stirling engine in an older EV from Th!nk to create an extended-range electric vehicle. Interestingly, this is not at all the first time a Stirling engine was used to power an automobile. Apparently, the U.S. Department of Energy tasked NASA with the job of fitting an American-made car with a Stirling engine way back in the 1970s when the first oil crisis had the country in its grasp.

After realizing it lacked a certain amount of expertise in refitting automobiles (as opposed to, say, space shuttles) with new engines, NASA reportedly contracted AM General to do the actual conversion work. The result of all this effort is the AMC Sprit you see above. In later years, NASA's Stirling projects also included an AMC Concord, a GM G-chassis cube van, a Dodge D-150 pickup truck and a 1985 Chevrolet Celebrity.

According to Hemmings, these vehicles were tested extensively for over 50,000 miles and were able to achieve average efficiency that ranged between 18 and 28.5 miles per gallon. Perhaps the idea of using a Stirling engine as a generator isn't so crazy after all?

The pictures at this site say they are NASA/AMC prototypes:  http://green.autoblog.com/photos/nasa-amc-stirling-prototypes/#2131970


A link to a Hemmings article:  http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2009/01/27/nasa-gets-spiritual-and-drops-stirling-engines-in-some-odd-vehicles/


The link to the 172 page NASA report:  http://mac6.ma.psu.edu/stirling/reports/19970012689_1997021349.pdf
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Offline 83Eagle!

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2011, 01:01:57 AM »
One of the people who responded to the Hemmings Article mentioned that a friend of his actually has the Spirit that NASA used.  Says it was sold at government auction minus the sterling engine.  Wonder how true that is.
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Offline shanebo

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Re: NASA and AMC's pet project.
« Reply #22 on: July 13, 2011, 01:14:40 AM »
Without the engine its just a nice spirit with some cool decals!! Not that I wouldnt take though!!...I wonder if they were ordered to destroy the engines after abandoning the project., like alot of prototype cars are.
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